“The law needed to be followed” when Kim Davis faced the same-sex marriage license situation in Kentucky, Gov. Chris Christie said during the GOP Iowa debate Thursday evening.
Davis is the elected Rowan County clerk who went to jail for several days once she refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses because they conflicted with her Christian religious beliefs.
Fox News debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Christie, “You said that she must follow the law or be moved to another job that would be in keeping with her conscience. But some conservatives say that that violates her religious liberty.”
No, what I said, Chris, was that the law needs to be followed. And that someone in that office has to do their job. So if Ms. Davis wanted to step aside and get rid of her ability to be able to do that, there should be someone else in that office who it didn’t violate their conscience so they could follow the law of the state of Kentucky.
I never said that Ms. Davis should either lose her job or that she had to do it. But what I did say was that the person who came in for the license needed to get it. And so if there’s someone in that organization, and it turns out there was, who was willing to be able to do that, that’s what we should do.
Breitbart News reported in September that Christie said Davis should be offered “another job” where her religious objections aren’t a problem, but “these licenses have to be issued.”
Christie added at the time, “First off, we’ve got to be protecting religious liberty in this country, and the Constitution has to be protected.”
People have a right to practice their religion. Now, I’ve said what I would do with this woman is to move her to another job where this is not an objection for her, because, you have to follow the law. And the law has to be — these licenses have to be issued. If she has a religious objection, we should move her to another job inside the government.”
Christie said there would be “an issue” if Davis refused to go to another job, but she should be given the option.
During the debate, Christie transitioned his response to that question to one about “imposing” faith on others in the way “Islamic jihadists” do:
You know, we all have our own individual interpretations of our faith. And here’s the problem with what’s going on around the world. The radical Islamic jihadists – what they want to do is impose their faith upon each and every one of us – every one of us. And the reason why this war against them is so important is that very basis of religious liberty.
They want everyone in this country to follow their religious beliefs the way they do. They do not want us to exercise religious liberty. That’s why as commander in chief, I will take on ISIS, not only because it keeps us safe, but because it allows us to absolutely conduct our religious affairs the way we find in our heart and in our souls.
“As a Catholic, that’s what I want to do,” Christie said. “And no matter what your faith is, that’s what I want you to be able to do.”